Will it be okay to carry on using my contraception if it has health benefits?


#1

I got the contraceptive implant (implanon) several months ago.

I was on the contraceptive pill, purposely to avoid pregnancy whilst having sexual intercourse with my boyfriend. While with him, I developed a condition called IBS.

My IBS symptoms worsened every month around the time that I had my period, and then I heard about implanon. It can either stop or greatly reduce the length/heaviness of periods (more so than the pill) and as I was also forgetful with my pill I switched to implanon.

Since switching, I no longer have periods. This was worrying at first but I have been assured by several medical professionals that it is not something to worry about because it is a safe side-effect of my implant. If I have it removed, my fertility will return to normal within a few hours. I know this because a friend of mine also had the implant a while ago, and it stopped her periods. She stopped using it for various reasons and had it removed, and her periods returned to normal within a week. A nurse I know had the implant inbetween children and had no trouble conceiving/with her menstral cycle afterwards.

My IBS symtoms, which were often extremely painful and lead to me having several days off a month, have almost disapeered completely! This is a huge blessing.

My boyfriend and I rarely have sex any more, only once or twice a month. I do not want to use contraception if it offends God, because my reason for having contraception in the first place was to avoid pregnancy as a result of pre-marital sex. However, now I have decided to try to abstain from sex, would it be okay to continue using the implant as it has made my health so much better?


#2

Long and short - yes it is OK if it is the actual treatment for the problem. The only way to know this is to see an NFP only doctor that is going to actually test your hormone levels and look at your levels and see if this is the actual mix needed to regulate your body or if possibly a single low dose hormone could be used.

Otherwise what you are being given is a buckshot method of treating a multitude of problems that can also raise your chances for breast cancer and infertility. The reason is that these pills were designed to work against God's natural purpose of a woman's body: fertility. When we mess with nature we cause more problems in the future all of which have been shown.

Also, in order to be taking this medication if you were married and having licit sexual intercourse you still would need to abstain during fertile times as the pill can be an abortaficient causing fertilized eggs - conceived babies not to be able to implant in the uterus. Hence one abortion per month. this is not licit regardless of the reason.

God bless you but you need to:

a)Pray for guidnce
b)Stop having pre-marital sex
c)See an NFP doctor


#3

Good for you for committing to chastity! Having sex with your boyfriend was offending God whether or not you got pregnant. You will need God’s help to keep this committment. I recommend getting to confession as soon as you are allowed (you’re not Catholic yet, right?) to confess the premarital sex, and then return to confession frequently, even for littler sins. The grace that you will receive from that will be very helpful.

I agree with most of what joandarc says, but not this completely. There is not a requirement that you follow a pattern of abstaining during “fertile times.” For one thing, if the meds are working properly, there are no fertile times, and if they’re not working properly, then when that time occurs is probably not predictable. Also, you would not be having one abortion per month, because even if you ovulated every month (which you won’t be), a baby won’t be conceived from every ovulation.

That said, you will still be at risk for having an abortion at some time, so even though joandarc’s details are not quite accurate, her point is still worth considering. Considering how terrible abortion is, we should take that risk very seriously when deciding if we will use contraception for a medical reason. There are some couples in this situation who will abstain for a certain time in the middle of the month. I’m not sure if it’s to avoid the possibility of an abortion or if it’s to imitate NFP as a sacrificial act of love, and as a sign that they are not using the contraception for the wrong reason.

I’d also like to suggest that you look carefully into your doctor’s assertion that there won’t be any side effects. There are people who will disagree with that statement. We can’t give you medical advice, but when it comes to big stuff like this (and completely halting one of your body’s functioning systems for many years is a BIG thing), a second opinion is always a good idea. As joandarc says, an NFP only (or at least friendly) doctor will more likely give a balanced perspective, since there seems to be a strong bias in the OBGYN world. Or even with a consultation with the Pope Paul VI institute: popepaulvi.com/ .

God bless you!


#4

According to Humanae Vitae, we are allowed to use hormone therapy to treat medical conditions. But we are not allowed to use hormone therapy for the sole purpose of birth control. The Church does not dictate that we bounce from doctor to doctor to doctor if we have found something that works us and relieves us of painful symptoms that are now under control. What Humanae Vitae says is this:

Lawful Therapeutic Means
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

Humanae Vitae sayins NOTHING about abstaining while using contraceptives, and as it was mentioned, there are no fertile times. Here is the rest of Humane Vitae, and it’s worth reading if you have not already:
vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

We are not allowed to give medical advice on this forum. And I don’t mean to contradict your doctor by any means, but I do think I’m within the guidelines of the forum rules by urging you to research the side effects more thoroughly. Repeated hormone therapy tends to raise one’s blood pressure, and raise a woman’s chances of throwing blood clots considerably, which lead to stroke and pulmonary embolism. If there is a non-hormone therapy way to deal with your problem, it might be in your best interest to research that avenue. Good luck and I’m glad you’re feeling better!


#5

I agree with most of what joandarc says, but not this completely. There is not a requirement that you follow a pattern of abstaining during "fertile times." For one thing, if the meds are working properly, there are no fertile times, and if they're not working properly, then when that time occurs is probably not predictable. Also, you would not be having one abortion per month, because even if you ovulated every month (which you won't be), a baby won't be conceived from every ovulation.

Agreed that in a perfect world there would be no fertile times on the pill - however it has been shown since the writing of Humanae Vitae that this is simply not true. Most pharmaceutical companies get away with classifying these pills as birth control and not abortaficients as the definition of life in the medical industry is when the egg implants into the uterine lining. However we in the Church believe that keeping a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine lining is an abortion. This is why Plan B is sold as Birth Control by the pharmaceutical industries and the Church has correctly named it abortion.

Also, most pills have a mechanism either primary or secondary of stopping the conceived baby or what they would like to dubb the zygote in medical terms from implanting into the uterine wall. Yes, I do have a degree in biochem and I used to pro-choice because I used to believe all this. Humanae Vitae unfortunately pre-dated much of the science not the morality. If you look at the name of the pill you are on and check out the FDA website you will know for sure if you should be abstaining during fertile periods.


#6

I did include this article for you as well I also wanted to pull out the following quote:

Others have researched this issue and concluded that all hormonal contraceptives have an abortifacient potential.

Here is the article


#7

The thing is though, I have no menstral bleeding whatsoever. If my contraception has induced an abortion in me it would have resulted in a tiny bit of bleeding. The thing is though, I have absolutely no womb lining whatsoever. The body's clever enough to not release an egg if there is no womb lining - hence why severely ill women do not have periods. No egg is released, no lining is built up, because the woman is too ill to conceive.


#8

Maybe you should have a look around this site:
popepaulvi.com/about.htm

If you can't get to this place, you can call them to see if there is a specialist in your area.... again, not giving medical advice, just passing along information.


#9

No, it wouldn’t -you are thinking of the medical communities definition vs the actual definition of life. If you have a conception but no lining to put it in then that is the termination of a single-celled life that has never been given the chance to grow -hence an abortion. This is why medications like the morning after pill and now the week after pill were given clearance by the FDA - because they were not technically abortions by the medical communities definition - they were birth control - all they were doing was stopping a zygote from implanting. However a zygote is already a conceived life - hence these are abortion pills. Hence any medication that causes this action is an abortaficient. Now you are on an implant so I am assuming Mirena which is the one that has replaced Norplant which has been recalled or NuvaRing. Here are the mechanisms of action:

Mechanism of Action - Mirena

The local mechanism by which continuously released levonorgestrel enhances contraceptive effectiveness of Mirena has not been conclusively demonstrated. Studies of Mirena prototypes have suggested several mechanisms that prevent pregnancy: thickening of cervical mucus preventing passage of sperm into the uterus, inhibition of sperm capacitation or survival, and alteration of the endometrium.

As an aside the lack of menstruation is a side effect of mirena not a mechanism of action.

Read more: drugs.com/pro/mirena.html#ixzz11zDiUuCq

Mechanism of action-NuvaRing

Like all combined hormonal contraceptives, NuvaRing works primarily by preventing ovulation. A secondary mechanism of action is inhibition of sperm penetration by changes in the cervical mucus. Hormonal contraceptives also have effects on the endometrium that theoretically could affect implantation, however no scientific evidence indicates that prevention of implantation actually results from their use

I would take a strong guess that the research does not exist because it does the pharmaceutical industry no good to spend the money on this research and the other side is consider this research scientifically unethical - something to think about - as the only way to apply the scientific method is to see if it affects implantation by giving hormones to cause ovulation and these forms of birth control and seeing if a woman gets pregnant - birth defects and all.


#10

[quote="LemonAndLime, post:1, topic:215614"]
I got the contraceptive implant (implanon) several months ago.

I was on the contraceptive pill, purposely to avoid pregnancy whilst having sexual intercourse with my boyfriend. While with him, I developed a condition called IBS.

My IBS symptoms worsened every month around the time that I had my period, and then I heard about implanon. It can either stop or greatly reduce the length/heaviness of periods (more so than the pill) and as I was also forgetful with my pill I switched to implanon.

Since switching, I no longer have periods. This was worrying at first but I have been assured by several medical professionals that it is not something to worry about because it is a safe side-effect of my implant. If I have it removed, my fertility will return to normal within a few hours. I know this because a friend of mine also had the implant a while ago, and it stopped her periods. She stopped using it for various reasons and had it removed, and her periods returned to normal within a week. A nurse I know had the implant inbetween children and had no trouble conceiving/with her menstral cycle afterwards.

My IBS symtoms, which were often extremely painful and lead to me having several days off a month, have almost disapeered completely! This is a huge blessing.

My boyfriend and I rarely have sex any more, only once or twice a month. I do not want to use contraception if it offends God, because my reason for having contraception in the first place was to avoid pregnancy as a result of pre-marital sex. However, now I have decided to try to abstain from sex, would it be okay to continue using the implant as it has made my health so much better?

[/quote]

Besides what everyone else has said, I have to ask, are you truly committed to abstaining from sex? Because having premarital sex even rarely is still having premarital sex. From your posts, it sounds like you are trying to justify staying on the contraception to safeguard the times you rarely have sex.


#11

But, joandarc, since she doesn't get a period at all, she would have no way of even guessing when ovulation might occur. I don't know enough about oral contraceptives that still create a monthly period to know if they would give you more knowledge on that, but since she is basically in one long eternal cycle, any abstaining she did would be purely symbolic. Which might have value anyway.


#12

[quote="joandarc2008, post:9, topic:215614"]
No, it wouldn't -you are thinking of the medical communities definition vs the actual definition of life. If you have a conception but no lining to put it in then that is the termination of a single-celled life that has never been given the chance to grow -hence an abortion. This is why medications like the morning after pill and now the week after pill were given clearance by the FDA - because they were not technically abortions by the medical communities definition - they were birth control - all they were doing was stopping a zygote from implanting. However a zygote is already a conceived life - hence these are abortion pills. Hence any medication that causes this action is an abortaficient. Now you are on an implant so I am assuming Mirena which is the one that has replaced Norplant which has been recalled or NuvaRing. Here are the mechanisms of action:

[/quote]

No, you did not read my post. The body does not ovulate UNLESS there is a lining of the womb already in place. If there is no womb lining, no egg (therefore cannot be fertilised), no period, no chance of abortion. I have no womb lining built-up as proven by the lack of period. Therefore no egg is ever going to be released. That is my understanding of the female productive system, as taught to me, unless proven otherwise.


#13

OP, I think you need to reread this post. You can argue about whether your body is aborting or not, but that shouldn’t even be an issue if you are using the ABC for treating the IBS and abstaining from premarital sex. I’m a little confused on why you are arguing so much FOR the ABC and if it has abortaficient effects instead of asking for advice on abstaining from premarital sex and maybe asking for other members’ experiences with IBS.


#14

[quote="PatriceA, post:13, topic:215614"]
OP, I think you need to reread this post. You can argue about whether your body is aborting or not, but that shouldn't even be an issue if you are using the ABC for treating the IBS and abstaining from premarital sex. I'm a little confused on why you are arguing so much FOR the ABC and if it has abortaficient effects instead of asking for advice on abstaining from premarital sex and maybe asking for other members' experiences with IBS.

[/quote]

She did say she was planning to abstain, but she was also asking about if she gets married in the future. Presumably, the medical condition will remain after marriage, and will require some form of treatment.


#15

[quote="PatriceA, post:13, topic:215614"]
OP, I think you need to reread this post. You can argue about whether your body is aborting or not, but that shouldn't even be an issue if you are using the ABC for treating the IBS and abstaining from premarital sex. I'm a little confused on why you are arguing so much FOR the ABC and if it has abortaficient effects instead of asking for advice on abstaining from premarital sex and maybe asking for other members' experiences with IBS.

[/quote]

I am trying to abstain from sexual sin in time for my baptism and confirmation into the Catholic Church. I was greatly worried that my sins may have lead to an abortion, so I was very concerned with finding out whether this could have occured and then letting others know that it could not have happened. I wanted to know - yes the reasons for me starting contraception were for premarital sex, but my reason for wanting to keep it in the long term is for the management of my IBS - is that okay?

I would like some advice on abstaining from premarital sex, but I already have a thread entitled "Struggling with chastity as a potential convert" or something similar under the same section of the forum as this thread. Please direct any advice there, I would be most greatful. :)

If anyone has any information on managing IBS, that would be useful also :) I have had 21 days off sick in the last year alone just because of IBS.


#16

From my personal standpoint, a point that came up during our NFP classes:

Does it even make sense to use a contraceptive method to treat a side effect of a larger issue? What if, since you're using an implant to render yourself infertile on purpose, you and your doctor are missing a bigger issue that could be diagnosed IF you didn't have the contraceptive implant in?

Just a different perspective maybe.... to me it doesn't make sense to treat 1 or 2 symptoms of something that could be your body telling you there is a larger issue.

Go see an NFP doctor. It would be very beneficial to you.


#17

[quote="jdivinemercy, post:16, topic:215614"]
From my personal standpoint, a point that came up during our NFP classes:

Does it even make sense to use a contraceptive method to treat a side effect of a larger issue? What if, since you're using an implant to render yourself infertile on purpose, you and your doctor are missing a bigger issue that could be diagnosed IF you didn't have the contraceptive implant in?

Just a different perspective maybe.... to me it doesn't make sense to treat 1 or 2 symptoms of something that could be your body telling you there is a larger issue.

Go see an NFP doctor. It would be very beneficial to you.

[/quote]

I'm British, we don't have NFP doctors here. I've had numerous medical tests done which confirm the diagnosis of IBS, and it has been proven that there is a direct link between the severity of symptoms and the menstral cycle. Much is not known about IBS - they don't know what causes it, what treatments are effective in everyone, or even how to diagnose it. They can only diagnose it by eliminating the possibility of everything else, such as coelic disease.


#18

It is extremely unlikely that having an Implanon implanted would be the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms decreasing. This is almost certainly a sheer coincidence. Implanon has no effect on the bowel.

And the adverse effects of Implanon are even worse than those of oral contraceptives.


#19

[quote="Petergee, post:18, topic:215614"]
It is extremely unlikely that having an Implanon implanted would be the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms decreasing. This is almost certainly a sheer coincidence. Implanon has no effect on the bowel.

And the adverse effects of Implanon are even worse than those of oral contraceptives.

[/quote]

You didn't read my post. They have proven that women's IBS symptoms get worse during their period. If I don't have any periods/very small ones, then my symptoms are reduced.


#20

I'm in the UK. Check out lifefertilitycare.co.uk/womhealth.html :) They might help.


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